Addressing the sustainability issue
Incorporating sustainability into buildings has never been more important than it is today. This is a topic that has been addressed in government documents that have outlined the rigorous new energy efficiency targets that businesses must meet to help protect the environment.
Sustainable buildings will play a key role in reducing carbon emissions in our goal of net zero emissions by 2050. We know this is going to be a big deal in the years to come, so we might as well tackle it head-on. So, how can we make our buildings more sustainable?
Make the best use of natural light
By using larger windows, rooflights and sun pipes we can maximise the amount of natural light that makes it into our buildings. Not only does this significantly reduce energy consumption and cut costs, but it also benefits the welfare of employees.
A study by Harvard revealed that access to natural light and views of the outdoors is the number one desired attribute of the workplace environment. Natural lighting boosts productivity and increases the value of your indoor space. Making the best use of daylight is an excellent first step in making your workplace more sustainable.
Minimise waste and maximise reuse
This one should be obvious, but you may be surprised to hear in this day and age that many businesses have no clear policy in place regarding waste. This leads to excess products and materials being handled in an inefficient manner, which increases the overall carbon footprint of many buildings across the UK.
By using fewer, more resilient materials, buildings will generate less waste and reduce their impact on the environment. Reusing materials also plays a huge role in this process. Eliminating single-use plastics and encouraging employees to use reusable cups, cutlery and utensils will drastically reduce the waste coming from all of your buildings.
Optimise energy use
Improving the energy performance of existing buildings and ensuring that new buildings are built with optimal energy efficiency is a top priority. By making our energy last longer, we can become less dependent on fossil fuel-derived energy.
As we make the transition to green energy, we will have to adjust to the challenges that come with renewable energy. There are some geographic limitations, for example, wind turbines, hydroelectric dams and solar panels can only be placed in certain areas. Storing renewable energy also requires large batteries, which can make the process more difficult.
So, what does this mean? It means we should learn to treat energy with more care and appreciate it as a truly precious commodity. This means only using it when necessary and making sure lightbulbs and radiators aren’t left on in vacant rooms.
Protect and conserve water
As always, we should be making a conscious effort to minimise water waste wherever possible. There are also a number of ways to increase water efficiency throughout a building by performing regular maintenance to manage systems effectively.
On top of our consumption of water, we can also address the impact we have on our surroundings regarding stormwater and drainage infrastructure. Making sure that our buildings are correctly dealing with rainwater in a way that isn’t damaging to local habitats and the wider area is essential.
Improve indoor environmental quality
The indoor environmental quality (EIQ) of a building has a significant impact on the health, wellbeing and productivity of those who occupy it. A sustainable building will maximise natural light, have appropriate ventilation and avoid the use of materials with unnecessary carbon emissions.
Although all buildings and workplaces differ, the standards of indoor air quality should be kept consistent. In fact, since the coronavirus pandemic, new legislation has been released to emphasise the importance of good indoor air quality and ensure it is addressed.
Good ventilation plays an important role in preventing the spread of disease, which as you can imagine makes it a top priority. Clean air technology helped many businesses to stay open over the various lockdown periods and will continue to be an essential part of health and safety going forward.
Ready to make your building more sustainable?
If you’re starting to think about making your building more sustainable, then hopefully these tips have helped you find a good place to start. The simple truth is that we’re all going to have to address these issues at some point in the near future as we approach the 2050 deadline.
It’s better to get a head-start on the competition and give yourself and your team as much time as possible to adjust. Here at Tempus, we take sustainability seriously and we strive to reduce carbon emissions on every project we take on.